A study, which appears in Nature Medicine, claims that chemotherapy can damage healthy cells, which causes them to secrete a protein that supports tumor growth and resistance to further treatment, reports AFP.
Researchers, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, were originally trying to find out why cancer cells are resilient inside the human body, but easy to kill in a lab.
The study found that healthy cells ,damaged by chemotherapy, secreted more of a protein called 'WNT16B' which boosts cancer cell survival in the body.
Study co-author Peter Nelson of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center told AFP: “The increase in WNT16B was completely unexpected. WNT16B, when secreted, would interact with nearby tumor cells and cause them to grow, invade, and importantly, resist subsequent therapy."
“Our results indicate that damage responses in benign cells … may directly contribute to enhanced tumor growth kinetics."
Additionally, rates of tumor cell reproduction were found to accelerate between chemotherapy treatments.